The heat is oppressive.
I pull shriveled leaves off my verbena plants and deadhead the expired blossoms and think about this summer.
This has been a summer of change. It’s been a summer of HARD, HARD, HARD. It’s been a summer of unfair accusations, misunderstandings, and unresolved sadness over the mental breakdown of one of the individuals in our home, her decision to leave us, and the subsequent cut off of all communication. I’ve been left with 12 years of memories, not all good, but so, so many that were, and a deep desire to have just a friendship with this individual in whom we had invested so much. It may be better for her (and us) to have things this way, but I taste the grief as salt at the many places that her person filled. I shell lima beans, remember that the trash goes to the road on Thursday, keep the paper towel holders and toilet paper spindles filled, and clean her bathroom, and remember the good times and wish for the thousandth time that it was possible to convince someone that doesn’t love herself that she is, not only lovable – but loved!
There were breathless moments of panic and despair as we have watched and waited the drama unfold around the foster baby that our family loves so intently. FOUR times we had a date for when she would be permanently moved. FOUR times, the plans changed yet again. The yet unfinished business makes me feel as if I cannot really let my breath all out, but our God is in control of all of this, and He has proven that He doesn’t need a month, a week, a day, an hour or minute to accomplish His Purpose. He even can redeem a situation when it seems like it’s already too late, and HE is to be trusted.
There have been family issues that have broken my heart. What should I do when decisions are made by people I love that are so totally out of my control, but it’s obvious that the decisions will lead to disaster, heartache, and shipwreck? And what about the stuff that’s already done and is irreparable? Words spoken that damage the hearts of the little ones, divorce, suicide, abortion? The kinds of things that make me sick with that “kicked in the gut, and I can’t get my breath” kind of response . . .and I can’t fix it!
They say I’m not supposed to. It’s not up to me. Then why does it hurt so much?
These are the days when I have been so homesick for my Daddy and My Sweet Mama. I know that they couldn’t fix things either (and some of the things, I’m really happy that they don’t even have to know about). But in the roughest places of my life, when it felt like there was nowhere else to turn, they listened, and they prayed and it was enough. I have always said that my Daddy went to Heaven “all prayed up and prayed ahead” for us and our children, but sometimes it feels like we are running out. (“Oh, Daddy, what would you say? How would you pray? What would you do?”) I find the tears wanting to spill out over the strangest things. I feel so fragile, and it makes me wish for a reprieve. It makes me wish for Heaven. I’ve always wanted to live here in “Light of Heaven,” but I’m thinking this expression of that ideal doesn’t translate into the present as a positive thing. At least not very well.
I deadhead flowers, pick garden produce, make relish, and freeze beans. I have days filled to the brim with plenty to do, and earlier this week, I came home from a very full day and as Certain Man and I were headed up to bed, I realized that there was some talk on our Yoder family Google Group about an “old photo.”
“Wait just a minute,” I implore my long suffering spouse. “I haven’t checked email all day, and I want to see what this is.” I flip through the 100+ emails that accumulated there and find the attachment and open it. “Oh,” I say softly. And turn the screen to show him.
It’s a photo of my Daddy and his twin, Luke. It sucks away my breath, and the tears sting behind my eyelids. Daniel went through all the things a man does, like “Wonder where they were? Wonder when that was taken? Wonder what they were doing? Wonder who was there? I mean, somebody had to take the picture.” I just looked at it and looked at it, until I couldn’t see.
It’s a peculiar thing. Since Mama died, I miss Daddy more than before. I’ve heard explanations for that often enough to realize that it isn’t unusual — but it doesn’t stop the missing. I miss Mama acutely these days, too. Sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like now if they had continued to live and move and have their being. It would be different, for sure, and I would never say that I think it would have been better, but maybe there would be more comfort for these days. One thing that would probably never changed and that was her delight in her babies and grandchildren. I opened our Wert family google group the other day and had to suck in my breath again. It was a picture of my Aunt Orpha, holding her newest great-grandchild. She looked so much like my Sweet Mama, and everything was sweet, sweet, sweet. She was dressed in a pretty dress that could have been my mama’s. I saw her face, so much like that of “her sister next in line,” my mother, and I wept again.
“Someday the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing.
But oh! The Joy when I awake
Within the palace of the king . . .”
And so, except for those I love who may not be there,
“Even so, Lord Jesus, Come!”